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News summary for 9/18/07

Tue, 09/18/2007 - 9:55am
CED staff

Ciena gobbles up PhyFlex
By Brian Santo

Ciena has purchased the technology and intellectual property of PhyFlex (the former Narad Networks), according to the latter.

Few details were available. The price was not disclosed. Though the acquisition is complete, the two are still negotiating over how much of the staff will be brought along to Ciena. President and CEO Michael Collette will not be joining Ciena, according to a spokesman.

PhyFlex was founded in 2000 as Narad Networks. For most of its life it has been backed by venture capital; its most recent round was last February when it attracted $10 million.

Its most prominent customer is Cablevision, which has been among the most aggressive major U.S. cable operators when it comes to deploying carrier Ethernet services. Hargray Communications is another customer.

PhyFlex was also known to have been in trials with Mediacom Communications Corp., Cogeco Cable, Mexico’s Intercable, and World Multi-Net Co. in South Korea.

As Narad, the company specialized in FTTx implementations for HFC networks. The company in 2006 began expanding into Ethernet switching, and eventually carrier Ethernet became its main focus.

Collette, with experience at Ucentric, OpenTV, ICTV, and TVN, among others, was hired to shepherd the re-focused company.

Carrier Ethernet makes few distinctions when it comes to the physical layer of the network. In recognition of that, and to underscore that the company had changed its focus, it renamed itself PhyFlex in April.

PhyFlex’s assets should complement Ciena’s optical Ethernet portfolio. The sale to Ciena includes the technology at the heart of the company’s FTTxSWITCH, Coax Access Switch, Coax Demarcation Unit, Modems, miniX and Service Management Platform.

The deal also covers PhyFlex's portfolio of intellectual property, such as out-of-band network architecture and switched Ethernet over HFC patents.

"While the timing of the market wasn't right for PhyFlex, the direction of the industry today points to success for Carrier Ethernet access network solutions in the years ahead," said Collette. "We believe that Ciena's experience and success with carrier-grade optical Ethernet transport and next-generation network solutions makes it a natural fit for maximizing the switched Ethernet and other technologies we've developed."

Navic launches addressable ad apps
By Traci Patterson

Navic Networks has unveiled two new services related to addressable advertising, one of which is Admira, a media placement service that utilizes census-level STB measurement data to increase the value of TV advertising inventory.

Admira pairs an advertiser’s desired target audience with the media owner’s inventory to simplify the buying process and provide targeted impressions that can be measured. The service places relevant video in multiple programs and markets, including linear and addressable programming, switched broadcast, VOD and DVR playback.

“Admira is a long-overdue solution that gives video advertising planning and buying professionals a fighting chance to keep pace with television's explosive changes by providing a powerful targeting system that helps lift the effectiveness of increasingly complicated video ad campaigns,” said Tim Hanlon, SVP at Denuo.

The service is currently in commercial trials in multiple markets, Admira said, and has had success with interoperability.

Navic has also unveiled a new service that enables TV viewers to request (via their remote control) that digital coupons and product information be sent to their mobile phone through an SMS message. 

The service is offered as an extension to Navic’s addressable ad solutions, which enable viewers to request that an advertiser contact them or send them information via e-mail or standard mail.

With the new service, advertisers can reach consumers with interactive overlays during 30- and 60-second linear ads, or within interactive ad destinations. Navic’s HyperCast Network can then be used to access usage information and assess the success of each campaign.

Gemstar-TV Guide licenses IPG patent to MediaFlo
By Traci Patterson

Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. is licensing its interactive program guide (IPG) technology to MediaFlo USA Inc. - for Flo TV, the company’s mobile entertainment service - marking Gemstar-TV Guide’s first patent licensing agreement in the mobile TV market.

Specific terms of the multi-year agreement were not disclosed. MediaFlo USA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Inc.

“This agreement with MediaFlo USA builds on our successful mobile activities in Japan and further signifies the value of our intellectual property to traditional and emerging platforms, including online, IPTV and mobile,” said Rich Battista, Gemstar-TV Guide's CEO.

Navini rolls out new line of modems
By Mike Robuck

With the WiMAX industry inching closer to mobile WiMAX certification, today Navini Networks unveiled its mobile WiMAX device portfolio.

Navini’s new lineup of modems will initially consist of the Surfer 1000, 2000 and 3000 models. The Surfer 1000 will work on Navini’s mobile WiMAX networks using 802.16e (OFDMA) technology. Navini said it will provide a cost-effective migration path for customers who use 802.16e in advance of WiMAX Wave 1 and Wave 2 certifications. The Surfer 1000 modems will be ready for shipment in the fourth quarter with several spectrum bands and a choice of colors.

Navini Networks is also working with original design manufacturers to develop a portfolio of WiMAX Forum certified modems. The Surfer 2000 devices will be Wave 1 certified and the Surfer 3000 devices will be Wave 2 certified with support for Beamforming and MIMO.

"Most of Navini's customers plan to upgrade their networks to 802.16e over the next 12 months, largely through the use of over-the-air software upgrades," said Navini vice president Sai Subramanian, in a statement. "With the Surfer 1000, Navini's customers can immediately start converting their networks and experience significant cost and performance benefits. They can then introduce Surfer 2000 and Surfer 3000 devices as Wave 1 and Wave 2 certifications are completed all the while enjoying the benefits of Navini's patented Smart Beamforming technology."

SES-Americom’s IPTV system a go for rural telcos; One bites
By Brian Santo

The National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC) and the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) have negotiated a deal that will allow rural telcos to offer an IPTV solution from SES Americom.

The NRTC spent a year evaluating SES Americom’s technology and services on behalf of its members.

Following that evaluation’s completion in August, the NRTC and NTCA negotiated two options for their members.

The first is an end-to-end IPTV service using SES Americom’s IP-Prime, a centralized, satellite-delivered IPTV distribution solution that includes content transport, headend services, and set-top boxes. The other is a programming-only solution for telcos that have their own headends or transport arrangements with another company.

The North Central Telephone Cooperative, based in Lafayette, Tenn., signed the first non-beta contract to distribute IPTV using the IP-Prime solution, according to the NRTC. The company will use IP-PRIME to supplement its cable system and its DSL network.

North Central Tel, which has 22,000 customers, also recently purchased equipment from Occam to run the triple play (see story). 

Rim and Ringgold to test high-speed alternative to DSL
By CED staff

Rim Semiconductor announced a test with Ringgold Telephone, based in Ringgold, Ga., of the Internet Protocol subscriber line (IPSL) technology it devised.

According to Rim, IPSL 1.0 allows data speeds as high as 384 Mbps, which compares to a speed of 100 Mbps for VDSL2. Those maximums are largely theoretical. As a practical matter, IPSL 1.0 specifies data speeds of up to 35 Mbps at distances up to 8,000 feet from the nearest central office or remote terminal, a marked advantage over the most commonly deployed xDSL technologies.

The combination of greater speeds at longer reaches would be a boon for companies like AT&T that rely on xDSL technology for the delivery of IPTV.

Rim is offering the technology as an open standard, overseen by The IPSL SIG.

Rim and Ringgold will test the former’s Cupria IPSL solution.

Broadband Briefs for 9/18/07

* ECI Telecom’s IPTV platform reaches 1M subs
By Traci Patterson

ECI Telecom’s Hi-Focus MSAN platform now supports more than one million IPTV subscribers worldwide - covering eastern and western Europe, Israel and Taiwan.

The platform aids carriers in delivering IPTV with advanced multicast capabilities, allowing them to provide any service on any architecture via any technology, including copper and fiber.

* AT&T’s U-Verse TV, Internet services hit Texas
By Traci Patterson

AT&T’s U-verse TV and Internet services are now available to more than 325,000 households in northern Texas, the state where AT&T first deployed U-verse services. The company’s U-verse service snagged its 100,000th customer earlier this month.

Also, Dallas-Fort Worth customers are receiving new U-verse TV features - currently available to all local U-verse TV customers at no extra charge. Features include AT&T U-bar, which brings Internet-like content to the TV; YellowPages.com TV; and AT&T Yahoo! Games, available on the TV screen.

* Orbital Data Net lands broadband satellite contract with state of Missouri
By Mike Robuck

Orbital Data Net announced today that it was awarded a satellite broadband contract with the state of Missouri. Under terms of the agreement, Orbital will resell WildBlue Enterprise Solution’s high-speed broadband service and Encore Network’s VSR family of VPN security routers to various agencies throughout the state.

The Missouri Department of Conservation and the Department of Natural Resources will be the first agencies to receive the WildBlue and Encore equipment, with additional agencies to follow. State agencies are expected to begin using the new equipment by May. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

* Alvarion heads to Cayman Islands for WiMAX deployment
By Mike Robuck

Alvarion Ltd. was picked by the Caribbean’s largest mobile operator, Digicel Group, as the strategic partner for a WiMAX deployment in the Cayman Islands.

Alvarion’s IEEE.802.16e 4Motion Mobile WiMAX product was selected to advance Digicel’s first commercial WiMAX launch. The new network offers both voice and data services to residences and businesses throughout the Cayman Islands in the 2.3 GHz frequency. Digicel plans on offering mobile WiMAX throughout its Caribbean footprint.

 “By choosing Alvarion's technology-leading Mobile WiMAX solution, Digicel will be able to once again revolutionize the way people in the Caribbean communicate, offering world class broadband/Internet solutions accessible for all,” said Mario Assaad, CTO of Digicel Group, in a statement.

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